Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

meal ideas ~ easy comfort foods

Lazy Day Chicken Bake
This dish is one of the easiest comfort foods you will find. I found this recipe 40 years ago and it has been one of Steve’s favorites. It is so simple and delicious that there is not much to say except… have a try and see for yourself. You can add mushrooms or any other tid-bits in with the rice to make it more interesting. The rice comes out slightly sticky with a creamy texture of risotto.

4 chicken thighs or 2 chicken breasts – skinned
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 package of dry Onion Soup mix
3/4 can water
1 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
ground black pepper

Stir the soups, water, rice, and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow lidded baking dish. Carefully top with the chicken. Sprinkle with paprika to taste and appearance. Cover the baking dish.

Bake at 325°F. for 1 hour until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is creamy tender. Let stand for 10 minutes. Optional to stir the rice before serving. AND yes, it can be made in the crock pot in the summer months - on low for about 4-5 hours.  serve with fresh steamed sugar snap peas and carrots.

7 Bone Delight
here is one more that Steve requests all through the year… summer as well as winter- it too can be made in a crock pot. It creates its own gravy for mashed potatoes or parsley noodles. You can add small red potatoes to the pan to cook with meat…this is yummy too!
1 3-5 lb  7 Bone or any beef chuck roast- trimmed
1 can Onion Soup (liquid not dry mix)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 large sweet onion (walla-walla) sliced into rings
Brown roast in a shallow roasting pan, add onion rings on top and then pour cream of mushroom soup and then onion soup over all that, no need to stir and mix, it will do this on its own in a very nice way. Cover and place in oven to bake at 325°F for 1.5 hours.  Crusty rolls are a wonderful side to this dish.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

healthy living ~ stay young foods

Genes account for only around 25 per cent of aging, so what you eat could make a huge difference. Here’s how to adjust your menu and get smoother skin, a faster brain and a whole host of other youth boosters…

Stay-young benefit: Healthy eyes
Spinach is a top source of lutein, an antioxidant that protects the retina against damage from years of exposure to sunlight. High lutein intakes are specifically related to lowered risk of macular degeneration, a progressive loss of vision that is the leading cause of age-related sight loss. To help protect eyes, the Macular Disease Society recommends eating two to four servings of lutein-rich leafy green vegetables a week.
Extra boost: Pour olive oil over your spinach, or add a (small) knob of butter  – lutein is fat-soluble and therefore better absorbed if eaten with a little fat.
Alternatives? Kale is a great lutein source.

Stay-young benefit: Less lined skin
A study at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, found olive oil was key when it comes to smoother skin. After accounting for differences in age, gender and sun exposure, researchers found those who regularly ate olive oil along with fish and vegetables had, on average, 20 per cent fewer wrinkles than those who did not. Having a less lined face may seem like just cosmetic benefit, but
an American trial recently linked deeper wrinkles with increased risk of osteoporosis.
Extra boost: Drizzle the oil over bean and leaf salads – the same study found fruit, veg and pulses were skin-protective, too.
Alternatives? Avocados and macadamia nuts are also rich in monounsaturates, the healthy fat abundant in olive oil. 

Stay-young benefit: Lower inflammation
Onions, especially the red type, have anti-inflammatory properties, useful in avoiding arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. ‘Controlling inflammatory status may allow a better chance of successful ageing,’ says Dr Federico Licastro, a specialist in age-associated cognitive decline at Bologna University, Italy. The nutrient that lends onions their inflammation-quelling qualities is quercetin.
Extra boost: Team with foods rich in catechin, a type of antioxidant, which is found in broad beans, black grapes, apricots, strawberries and red wine.
Alternatives? Citrus fruit, apples and sage contain anti-inflammatory quercetin.

Stay young benefit: Healthier joints
Oily fish is a rich source of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and eating one to two portions a week may help to keep aging joints healthier. The likes of mackerel, salmon and sardines could also have a beneficial effect on an ageing brain – in one recent study at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, researchers linked plentiful oily fish with lower blood levels of a protein called beta-amyloid, which is commonly linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Extra boost: Include some canned oily fish, such as sardines, salmon or pilchards. It’s a richer source of vitamin D, vital for strong bones, than fresh.
Alternatives? Flaxseeds, walnuts and rapeseed oil contain the vegetarian form of omega-3. The body finds this harder to utilize but it’s valuable nonetheless.

Monday, July 29, 2013

wisdom for my new birth year

Residing fully in the present moment allows the unconditional energy of life to flow through the conditional body and mind.

the Zen Mind speaks with strength,
      saying "just do it!"
the Zen Heart speaks softly, 
      saying "just let it be."

living from perceived boundaries creates imaginary prisons~  be who you truly are~
not who you think or believe you should be

health is not the absence of illness;
 it is the state of being undefeated by illness

life's wonder and mystery can be discovered as easily at a traffic light as on a mountaintop

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

thursday's garden ~ new residents

Although this beautiful creature is not really “living in” my garden, we have been blessed with not one but two new red tailed hawks into our neighborhood. this photo was taken yesterday morning just after she had been resting on our back fence;  I was actually attempting to get her on the fence, but she had other ideas. there are two, and it is obvious that they are setting up housekeeping in the area. we can hear them screaming “kee-eeeee-arr”  every dawn and dusk as they fly the parameter of their 2 square mile homestead in announcement that this is their territory. I hope to get more pictures and of course we excitedly await any little ones in the future. During courtship, they also make a shrill “chwirk” sometimes giving several of these calls in a row....haven’t heard it yet. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

meal ideas ~ fresh from the garden- desserts

There is a wonderful soul and friend that lives in Kent, her name is Liz. She is not only the pack leader if the Welsh Bernese Princess, Fizz, that was Jesse’s long distance sweetheart, but she is an avid gardener. I have learned many fantastic tid-bits and ideas from her adventures of owning an “allotment” garden plot in the UK. Sadly a few weeks ago Liz needed to gather her vegetables and other plants and relocate them to her backyard garden…although she says they are barely making it… I know she will succeed. Well, that is if the newest member of her mountain dog family, Deshka, aka: the Goblin, can stop digging everything up.  

What does this have to do with wednesday’s meal ideas theme?

Today’s ideas are dedicated to Liz and her garden… here are a couple of recipes that are not only of British flare…but can come from her garden when those precious veggies are ready.

Zucchini Chip Bread
This brilliant bread combines walnuts, zucchini, and a small helping of chocolate to create a simply sweet combination. Not to mention with each piece you'll be getting 105 mg of potassium and 20 percent of your daily calcium 24 servings CARBS: 25

3 cups  all-purpose flour*
3/4 cup  sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking power
3/4 cup refrigerated egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. In a small bowl combine egg product, applesauce, oil, orange peel and vanilla; add to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Fold in zucchini, walnuts and chocolate pieces.

3. Divide mixture evenly between two prepared pans. Bake about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans and cool completely on rack. For easier slicing, wrap and store overnight before serving.

* You can substitute 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour.

Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Scones
No need to fly across the pond to get a proper English scone. Spiced with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, this healthy version of a bakery favorite pairs perfectly with your morning tea.  MAKES: 12 scones CARBS: 30

1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
1 cup  whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon  ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon  baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/4 cup  butter, cut up
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup  buttermilk
1 cup  shredded zucchini
1/2 cup  miniature semisweet chocolate pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in center of the flour mixture.

2. In small bowl combine egg and buttermilk; stir in zucchini and chocolate pieces. Add the buttermilk mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing it for 10 to 12 strokes or until nearly smooth. Pat or lightly roll dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut dough circle into 12 wedges.

4. Place dough wedges 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 or until edges are light brown. Remove scones from baking sheet; serve warm. 1 scone is a serving.

Sweet Potato Dessert Squares
Sweet potato for a stand-alone dessert??? Try this one and you will be hooked!

1 package yellow cake mix (regular size), divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten

3 cups cold mashed sweet potatoes 
      (without added milk or butter)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

6 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Whipped cream and pecan halves, optional

Set aside 3/4 cup of the cake mix. Combine the remaining mix with butter and egg until crumbly; spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Whisk filling ingredients until smooth; pour over crust.

For topping, cut butter into reserved cake mix until crumbly. Stir in the pecans, sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the filling.

Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. Garnish with whipped cream and pecan halves if desired. Yield: 16 servings.

Sweet Potato Cobbler Recipe
and another tribute to my English friend…a cobbler.

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, cubed

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
5 to 6 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 teaspoons sugar
Whipped cream, optional

In a saucepan, cook sweet potatoes in water until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1-1/2 cups cooking liquid. Layer potatoes in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; add reserved liquid. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; sprinkle over potatoes. Dot with butter.

For pastry, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. On a floured surface, roll pastry into a 13-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Place over filling; cut slits in top. Brush with butter; sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Spoon into dishes; top with whipped cream if desired.

hugs to you my friend, may your garden, wherever it takes root always blossom.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

healthy living ~ health bene's of cayenne pepper

Cayenne Pepper. I use it a lot in cooking, but never really thought about its health benefits. I use it as a “homemade bug repellent.” And most recently as a rodent repellent, deterring a new “Rodney the Garden Rat.” As well, I found out that it may also be good for keeping our “Chuckie the Woodchuck” out of the vegetable patch in Colorado.

Many societies, especially those of the Americas and China, have a history of using cayenne pepper therapeutically. A powerful compound with many uses, cayenne pepper is currently gaining a buzz for lowering blood pressure naturally; however, this is still in the research stage for me, and I’ll let you know what I think later.

Cayenne pepper has been used for a variety of ailments including heartburn, delirium, tremors, gout, paralysis, fever, dyspepsia, flatulence, sore throat, atonic dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia in women, nausea, tonsillitis, scarlet fever and diphtheria.  Here are a few of the benefits I have run across in my research of this wonderful little chili.

The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
1. Anti-Irritant Properties
Cayenne has the ability to ease upset stomach, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhea.

2. Anti-Cold and Flu Agent
Cayenne pepper aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus. Once mucus begins to leave the body, relief from flu symptoms generally follows.

3. Anti-Fungal Properties
The results of one study indicated that cayenne pepper could effectively prevent the formation of the fungal pathogens phomopsis and collectotrichum [1].

4. Migraine Headache Prevention
This may be related to the pepper’s ability to stimulate a pain response in a different area of the body, thus reverting the brain’s attention to the new site. Following this initial pain reaction, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P (the nerve’s pain chemical), and the perception of pain is lessened.

5. Anti-Allergen
Cayenne is an anti- agent and may even help relieve allergies.

6. Digestive Aid
Cayenne is a well-known digestive aid. It stimulates the digestive tract, increasing the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices. This aids the body’s ability to metabolize food (and toxins). Cayenne pepper is also helpful for relieving intestinal gas. It stimulates intestinal peristaltic motion, aiding in both assimilation and elimination.

7. Anti-Redness Properties
Cayenne’s properties makes it a great herb for many chronic and degenerative conditions.

8. Helps Produce Saliva
Cayenne stimulates the production of saliva, an important key to excellent digestion and maintaining optimal oral health.

9. Useful for Blood Clots
Cayenne pepper also helps reduce atherosclerosis, encourages fibrinolytic activity and prevents factors that lead to the formation of blood clots, all of which can help reduce the chances of a heart attack or stroke.

10. Detox Support
Cayenne is a known circulatory stimulant. It also increases the pulse of our lymphatic and digestive rhythms. By heating the body, the natural process of detoxification is streamlined. Cayenne also causes us to sweat, another important process of detoxification. Combined with lemon juice and honey, cayenne tea is an excellent morning beverage for total body detox.

11. Joint-Pain Reliever
Extremely high in a substance called capsaicin, cayenne pepper acts to cause temporary pain on the skin, which sends chemical messengers from the skin into the joint, offering relief for joint pain.

12. Anti-Bacterial Properties
Cayenne is an excellent preservative and has been used traditionally to prevent food contamination from bacteria.

13. Possible Anti-Cancer Agent
Studies done at the Loma Linda University in California found that cayenne pepper may help prevent lung cancer in smokers. This may be again related to cayenne’s high quantity of capsaicin, a substance that might help stop the formation of tobacco-induced lung tumors. Other studies have also shown a similar reaction in cayenne’s ability to inhibit liver tumors.

14. Supports Weight Loss
Scientists at the Laval University in Quebec found that participants who took cayenne pepper for breakfast were found to have less appetite, leading to less caloric intake throughout the day. Cayenne is also a great metabolic-booster, aiding the body in burning excess amounts of fats.

15. Improves Heart-Health
Cayenne helps to keep blood pressure levels normalized. It also rids the body of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

16. Remedy for Toothache
Cayenne is an excellent agent against tooth and gum diseases.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kicking the Cat syndrome ~ is this you?

Taking out our frustration, anger or irritation out on someone more vulnerable ~
”Kicking the Cat”

Many fall prey to Kicking the Cat Syndrome. We get “chewed out” at work, have an argument with a loved one or have some other confrontation that gets us “hot under the collar”.  We boil, fume and cannot let it go. The incident becomes part of a chain reaction; we take out our anger or frustration; whatever it is we are feeling on the next person who comes along. We cause them to get upset, and they pass it on to the next victim. It snowballs and goes on until the last person goes home, sees the cat and in frustration, lashes out and kicks it. There was no one else to pass it on to. The cat was the last victim, an innocent bystander.

    If we could observe ourselves and others participating in Kicking the Cat Syndrome as it occurs on a regular and routine basis, we would be amazed and saddened how helpless, fickle, and unintelligent we are. How idiotic it must appear as we allow ourselves to become part of such a ridiculous and wasteful activity. How much waste, hurt feelings and weakened relationships occur as a result of so many people so easily falling prey?  How many times are we responsible for maintaining the chain? How often are we mature enough to stop it?

    What you see – or, more correctly, interpret - from their behavior is that this kind of behavior is sanctioned. It must be, mustn’t it, or they wouldn’t do it? And don’t they always justify it somehow or other? Some of the trusty old favorites include:

I’ve had a hard day
You drive me to it
If you hadn’t done X, Y or Z…
How do you expect me to….?
You don’t know what I have to put up with

You get the picture?

    We are always responsible for how we respond to everything that happens to us. Our irresponsible side is susceptible to allowing something to get to us and then compels us to take out our anger or frustration on someone else. The mature and responsible side is very sensitive to what it allows to sink in and affect us. We take time, think and process through things that tend to get us upset. We chew on them, think them over, and even sleep on them if necessary. We resist allowing others to pull our chains or push our emotional hot buttons. 

    We should be on high alert at all times. Every day has issues, nuisances and problems that can get us upset, fuming and feeling down and out. There is no shortage of things that can cause us to lose our cool. We must consciously be in control of how we respond to all those things that sometimes get us riled up.

how about a hug instead ??
Cat Kicker Challenge: How often do you find yourself kicking the cat?  Do you easily have your chain pulled or your hot buttons pushed to get your all hot and bothered? How often do you find yourself taking out your frustrations on those you love and care for? It does not have to be that way. It is something you can change. It takes being more disciplined and alert to what triggers your emotional responses. Resist! It is a choice you must choose to make.

...what if you're that cat?.... stay back and don't engage in the "emotion."

Friday, July 19, 2013

fun friday photo ~ wasabi chan

After crows viciously attacked a newborn kitten on the street, her rescuer thought she would die. But, thanks to quick thinking and a trip to the vet, the kitten found a way to survive. She was underweight, horribly mauled and couldn’t even feed herself because of extensive lacerations in her mouth, a broken jaw, and hole in her neck from the birds. Thanks to a patient woman, little Wasabi-chan survived.

Her epic journey and adorable feeding outfits (needed to keep the kitten from hurting herself) made her an internet celebrity. You’ll love Wasabi, too.

the story:

meet Wasabi Chan- pawnation

Thursday, July 18, 2013

thursday's garden ~ butterfly gardens

A butterfly flutters into the garden and for a moment we pause, reflecting on its beauty and grace. One of the most striking creatures of the insect world, a visit from a Monarch or a Swallowtail is like a floating blessing. 
If you'd like to invite more such blessings into your garden, and life, consider creating a habitat for butterflies. To create an ecosystem welcoming to butterflies, select a sunny, relatively draft-free area to plant both host and nectar plants. Both plants and butterflies require a bright, warm environment to thrive.

Prepare your butterfly garden as you would a flower garden, with a soil that is loose and moderately fertile. Use compost to give your plants a good start and, of course, stay away from pesticides and other chemicals. Butterflies are attracted to fragrant plants and bright colors, especially orange, yellow, purple, and dark pink. Some plants guaranteed to entice butterflies are Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Weed (hence the names), and Lantana. Butterflies also love Cosmos, Impatients, Coneflower, and Lavender, as well as many other flowering plants.

To encourage butterflies to remain in your garden, provide host plants where butterflies can lay their eggs. Host plants such as Milkweed, Willow, Hollyhock, and many others, supply food for caterpillars and a place for them to form their chrysalis. It's a wonder to be able to watch the full lifecycle and witness a butterfly emerging from its cocoon.

In addition to plants, a few dark stones offer a resting spot where butterflies can warm themselves and a pile of sticks or logs provide shelter for the night and during rain. Butterflies also need water, which they can get from plants and they like mud puddles, so be sure and water your flowerbed regularly.

Gardening of any kind is a lesson in patience and creating a butterfly garden is no different. Only with a butterfly garden, in addition to beautiful plants and flowers, you'll also be blessed with a bevy of beautiful creatures.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

meal ideas ~ refreshing summer favorites

Iced Mocha
This homemade iced mocha is an afternoon pick-me-up that won't break your calorie and carb budget like a coffeehouse version can. Chocolate-flavored drink mix replaces high-carb sugar syrup in this homestyle recipe version of a coffee shop drink. MAKES: 2 servings: 6 ounce CARBS: 7

1 cup cold water
1/4 cup ground French or espresso coffee
1/2 cup  fat-free milk
2 tablespoons no-sugar-added chocolate-flavored drink mix (Nestle Nesquick®)
Ice cubes

1. Using a drip coffeemaker, add the water and ground coffee. Brew according to manufacturers directions. Pour coffee into a glass measuring cup. Stir in milk and drink mix.

2. Serve coffee mixture over ice in chilled tall glasses.

Golden Mimosa
Fruit juice and champagne make this drink recipe refreshingly tasty to serve while entertaining.  Hosting a brunch or shower? Toast to good health with this orange, apricot, and sparkling wine cocktail that boasts only 68 calories and 11 grams of carb per 1/2-cup serving. MAKES: 20 servings 

12 thin wedges of orange, lemon, or lime
3 cups  orange juice, chilled
3 cups  apricot nectar, chilled
2 cups  ice cubes
1 750 milliliter bottle champagne, sparkling white wine, or sparkling water, chilled

1. Place a thin wedge of orange, lemon, or lime in each compartment of an ice cube tray, with one end of the wedge extending above the tray about 3/4-inch. Fill tray with water and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.

2. Pour orange juice and apricot nectar over ice in a large (11-cup) glass pitcher or punch bowl. Add champagne, wine, or sparkling water, stirring gently. Place a Citrus Ice Cube in each champagne glass or punch cup. Pour or ladle over ice. Makes about 20 1/2-cup servings.

Red Wine Cooler
Make your red wine stretch by cutting it with ginger ale and sweetening it with orange slices and fresh raspberries. Enjoy this drink in moderation, even though it has only 4 grams of carb per serving. MAKES:2 glasses

5 oz red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon, chilled
6 ounces  diet ginger ale, chilled
Halved orange slice, and raspberries

1. Divide wine between two 6- to 8-ounce wine glasses. Top off each glass with half of the diet ginger ale. Serve immediately. If desired, garnish with orange and/or raspberries.

Watermelon-Tea Snow Cones
This is not really a "sipper", however, when it is hot- hot outside, it is refreshing. It gets its lively flavor from mint, Red Zinger tea, and watermelon. and... it only has 15 g of carbs. MAKES: 4 servings

2/3 cup water
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves or 2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
3 bags Red Zinger® tea
3 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute*
2 cups seeded, cubed watermelon
3 cups ice cubes

1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to boiling; add mint or rosemary. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags; cover and let steep for 4 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve, pressing tea bags to remove all liquid; discard tea bags and mint or rosemary. Let tea stand about 30 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.

2. Meanwhile, place watermelon in blender. Cover and blend until smooth. (You should have about 1 1/4 cups pureed watermelon.) Add pureed watermelon to the tea mixture. Cover and chill for 4 hours to 3 days.

3. Place watermelon mixture in blender. With blender running, add ice cubes, one at a time, through the hole in the lid; blend until the mixture is slushy and almost spoonable. Serve immediately.

Sugar Substitutes: Follow package directions to use amount equivalent to 3 tablespoons sugar.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

healthy living ~ dyi sunscreen

Most sunscreens contain toxic ingredients or endocrine disrupting chemicals that in many cases may actually promote skin cancer growth and free radical production in the body. In fact, in the years since sunscreen use began, skin cancer rates have actually risen, and a 2007 document from the FDA stated that: “The FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer” In fact, many reports show that most sunscreens actually raise skin cancer risk.

Even "all natural ingredients," commercially available, sunscreens often have toxic ingredients!

Considering many people these days are actually Vitamin D deficient, I consider lack of sun exposure to be a much bigger problem than too much exposure. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many types of cancers including the most deadly types of breast cancer. Lack of Vitamin D has also been linked to problems during pregnancy including pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature labor and more.

As a society, we’ve literally cut off our nose to spite our face when it comes to sun exposure. To avoid skin cancer, which is not a particularly deadly cancer, especially if caught early, we’ve shunned the sun and the Vitamin D our bodies produce with sun exposure.

On top of that, sun exposure itself is not conclusively linked to skin cancer, and many other factors, such as Omega-6 Vegetable Oil consumption can have a big impact on skin health!

In most cases, my approach to sun exposure is to get adequate daily exposure, without getting close to the point of burning. Since most of us don’t work outside these days, it actually takes effort to get daily sun, rather than to avoid it.

In the event that I’m going to be out in the sun for much longer than my skin is used to, it is often easy enough to just put on a hat or shirt to shield my skin. Sometimes, you just need to be in the sun without tenting yourself, so, here is a natural option I use.
Just to clarify, even though this natural sunscreen smells great and is naturally moisturizing, I don’t recommend using it daily since the Vitamin D you get from the sun will be more beneficial in the long run!

Natural Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)
1/4 cup beeswax
2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide powder (Be careful not to inhale the powder). This makes a natural SPF of 20+ or more can be added.)
Optional: 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
Optional: 2 tablespoons Shea Butter (natural SPF 4-5)
Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference

How to Make Natural Sunscreen:

Combine ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a measuring cup that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars, or you can even reuse a glass jar from pickles, olives or other foods.

Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat and place your container in the pan with the water.

As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in well and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Small mason jars (pint size) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!

Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.

Use as you would regular sunscreen. Best if used within six months.

*Additional Notes:
~This sunscreen is somewhat but not completely waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming
~Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide- use a mask if necessary!
~This recipe has an SPF of about 20, though adding more Zinc Oxide will increase the SPF
~Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen
~I recommend coconut or vanilla extract or lavender essential oils for fragrance
~Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge
~I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.
~remove the Zinc Oxide and this makes an excellent lotion recipe!

An Even Faster Way To Make Sunscreen:
Get a bottle of your favorite lotion (that doesn’t contain citrus oils!)
Add a couple Tablespoons of Zinc Oxide
Mix well

Use as Sunscreen